Alice In Zombieland // Not A Retelling, You Dumbass
Saturday, 30 January 2016 @ 13:00// 2 comment(s)



Alice In Zombieland (White Rabbit Chronicles, #1) by Gena Showalter
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release date: September 25th, 2012
Genres: YA, Horror, Fantasy, Romance
Pages:  404
Source: Bought it
Goodreads Purchase
She won't rest until she's sent every walking corpse back to its grave. Forever.

If anyone had told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that's all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.

Her father was right. The monsters are real.

To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn't careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies
REVIEW

I probably shouldn't have liked this book as much as I did. But, the truth is.. I freakin' did. I read reviews on Goodreads before buying this book, turned the popular ones were the negative ones. Therefore, I lowered my expectations and bought only the first book in the series in case I'm no longer interested in reading the rest of the series.

Turned out, I should've bought all four books. I enjoyed every passing second and couldn't put the book down for even a minute. I practically screamed (well, not really) when I reached the last page.

Also, let me tell you that this is the kind of book that you can either HATE so much or LOVE so freaking much. There's no in between. Fortunately, I'm one of the latter.

Okay, so... First, I'll tell you many reasons why I shouldn't have liked this book.
  • INSTALOVE. It's no secret that I despise instalove more than I despise cockroach (okay, maybe not). But.. you get the point. Fortunately, the more I read, the more I realized that this wasn't love at first sight slash instalove at all. It was more like attraction or maybe curiosity at first sight. And I'm fine with that. I mean, we all feel attracted to the person with good-looking features, right? Yes, we're attracted, but we don't fall for them right then and there, we only feel curious and.. I don't know... smitten by their looks. Had I read this kind of romance from other books, I would've vomited right then and there. But this book totally pulled it off and had me fangirling all over the floor. I mean, seriously, It was SO hard not to squeal or giggle while reading Cole and Ali's witty dialogues. 
“Are you trying to tell me that you've never been kissed?"
I pressed my tongue to the roof of my mouth. He looked so dubious, and his tone had bordered on insulting. "Yeah. So?"
"So, I'm shocked, that's all. You're...you."
In-sul-ting."Me?" I asked stiffly.
"Yeah. Hot," he said.
Wait. Me? HOT?
He laughed down at me."No one's told you that, either, have they?"
I could only shake my head.
"You've clearly been hanging around idiots.”
  • IT'S NOT ALICE IN WONDERLAND RETELLING, EVERYONE. What? You think it is? Because of the cover and the oh-so-deceiving title? Think again before buying. I've known this beforehand, though. I bought this book after reading countless spoiler-free reviews, and most of them said the same thing. So I knew what I was reading at the time had nothing to do with Alice who shrinks or talks to smiling cat. But, I wasn't disappointed AT ALL. Gena Showalter might have borrowed the name Alice and a few references from Alice In Wonderland for subtitles in the book. But, the story, the plot, the characters (oh the characters) were so original! And don't even get me started on how badass the characters were!
  • NOT THE KIND OF ZOMBIES I'M USED TO. We all know that the common zombies often portrayed in televisions and books are the kinds that are some kind of decaying corpses and eat brains, right? I was expecting these kinds of zombies while reading, but I didn't get what I wanted. Instead, I got some evil spirits who eat the souls of humans and can even think smarter and better the longer they've become a zombie. But, I was okay with it. In fact, I enjoyed the new experience and world as much as I love The Walking Dead. It was confusing at first, but the more I read, the more I enjoyed and couldn't stop reading. 
  • DRAMA OH DRAMA. This book might be the perfect example of a chick lit full of dramas with a tinge of zombies on the inside. I tried to hate the drama at first, because heck, there were so many of them! But then, just like the points above, the more I read, the more I enjoyed the drama or even the most insignificant thing, like how Ali's best friend—Kat always bickered with her ex-but-clearly-still-loves-her-boyfriend. 
Enough about the things that should have made me loathe this book. Let's talk about the things that made me head over heels for it instead.
  • THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN COLE AND ALI (OR PERHAPS COLE HIMSELF). Cole and Ali's relationship might be something you call instalove. But, trust me, it wasn't. It was more like attraction at first sight, and with that, came love and all the shenanigans. 
  • COLE DANGEROUSLY-SEXY-AND-IRRESISTIBLE HOLLAND. The name says it all.
  • ALI FREAKIN' BELL. What else can I say? She's badass under every standard available. She isn't easily intimidated and clearly has more sass than every person on the planet combined. AND SHE SERIOUSLY CAN KICK SOME (ZOMBIE OR NON-ZOMBIE) BUTTS!!
  • KAT PARKER. She's funny, outgoing, hilarious, and very straight-forward. She's a no-cuss kinda person, which proves that she's got class. She's the reason why I decided to (try to) stop cussing.  Let's just say that she's like a sister I've never had the privilege of having. 
  • THE VISIONS COLE AND ALI HAVE EVERY TIME THEY LAY EYES ON EACH OTHER FOR THE FIRST TIME EACH DAY. Yep. I loved it so much I practically counted down the pages until the next one.
  • THE OH-SO-INTERESTING-AND-THRILLING PLOT. It's not only interesting and thrilling, the plot is also fast-paced and so capable of making you get curiouser and curiouser.
Overall, I think Alice In Zombieland is a zombie novel full of suspense and swoony romance. It's heart-stopping and jaw-dropping. Don't read this book if you're looking for an Alice in Zombieland's retelling with absolutely no romance. But, like I said, you can either love it or hate it.

Now, please excuse me while I go and buy the next three sequels.

My rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ . 5

Reviewed by Inas

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The Game Of Lives // Shameful Finale
Thursday, 28 January 2016 @ 12:00// 0 comment(s)



The Game Of Lives (The Mortality Doctrine, #3) by James Dashner
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release date: November 17th, 2015
Genres: YA, Sci-Fi, Dystopian
Pages:  352
Source: Bought it
Goodreads Purchase
The games Michael is playing have become all too real. Only weeks ago, sinking into the Sleep was fun. The VirtNet combined the most cutting-edge technology and the most sophisticated gaming for a full mind-body experience. And it was Michael's passion. But now every time Michael sinks, he risks his life.

The games are over. The VirtNet has become a world of deadly consequences, and Kaine grows stronger by the day. The Mortality Doctrine - Kaine's master plan - has nearly been realized, and little by little the line separating the virtual from the real is blurring. If Kaine succeeds, it will mean worldwide cyber domination. And it looks like Michael and his friends are the only ones who can put the monster back in the box - if Michael can figure out who his friends really are. From the New York Times bestselling author of the Maze Runner series comes The Game of Lives, the thrilling finale to the Mortality Doctrine series. Perfect for fans of Divergent and The Hunger Games.
REVIEW

Whoa. This book was such a BIG disappointment. I've been waiting for it for a WHOLE year and what did I get? Nothing remarkable, nothing special, nothing worth remembering. Let's just say that I ALMOST felt nothing throughout the whole 352 pages.

To be frank, I was in love with the previous books. Both ended with intriguing cliffhangers that kept me wondering for a whole year until the next book. Both also had the thing that kept me glued to my seat and refused to let me relax because of the anticipation and suspense. Both also made me recommend the series to most of my friends.

But I got none of those privileges while reading The Game Of Lives.

I actually liked the description of coding and hacking and the world-building. It kept my imagination running wild and spoiled. But sometimes it got to the point where it was all just too overwhelming. I could've sworn ⅔ of the book was Michael and his friends (but mostly only Michael himself) coding and diving into a pool of code, or being in pain, or having unfortunate events randomly happen to them for the umpteenth time.

The plot was too flat. While The Eye Of Minds and The Rule Of Thoughts were fast-paced and full of suspense and tension, this book had very few of those. It was fast-paced alright (in some places), but it wasn't full of tension. While reading, my reaction would only vary from: 'oh..' to 'I see..'. It didn't make me want to punch someone or scream and shriek, which I could positively declare a failure of a book. (Oh, wait. It did make me want to punch someone because of how bad it was)

As for the characters, I didn't feel attached at all to any of them. They were just kinda there. I knew them, I read about them, but I didn't particularly like or dislike any of them for any reason. Which, I could say, was worth taking a star off.

I read this book in a little more than a week. Which says a lot. I mostly read a book in one to three days. More than that? That means the book was freakin' boring OR I was just very busy. But this time, it was the former reason. I practically fell asleep many times while trying to read on. It was just that the book was too full of descriptions and narratives that bored my eyes out. I was cool with it at first, but ten pages of narration and description of Michael coding some shit? Not cool, man.

Not to mention somewhere about 30-40 pages toward the end, something happened that struck me as ridiculous and not making sense at all. It was as if the author wanted to write something surprising and unpredictable that (in his expectations) would come off better than the twists in the previous books. But FAILED miserably.

Overall, I'd say The Game Of Lives was an unsatisfying finale any series could've ever asked for. The Mortality Doctrine was one of my favorite series so far, but I guess now I have to scratch it off my list.

My rating: ★

Reviewed by Inas

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Interview With Erica Cameron, Author of The Dream War Saga
Tuesday, 26 January 2016 @ 13:00// 0 comment(s)



Deadly Sweet Lies (The Dream War Saga, #2) by Erica Cameron
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Release date: December 1st, 2015
Genres: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal
Source: Publisher
Pages: 400
Goodreads | Purchase
Nadette Lawson knows when you’re lying.

Every night for the past two years, the Balasura have visited her dreams, enticing her to enter their world. And every night she’s seen through their lies. Now, they’re tired of playing in the shadows and they begin to stalk her in the waking world. It’s no longer just an invitation; if Nadette doesn’t join them, they’ll take her family. Forever. She needs help, and the haven she’s seeking may be just out of reach.

Julian Teagan is a master of deception.

To survive, he has to convince the world his mother isn’t useless, that everything’s fine, otherwise he’ll lose what little he has left in this life. He knows the lying won’t be enough to keep him and his mother in the shadows, but it’s all he knows. The only light of truth is Orane, a Balasura who sees past Julian’s facade and challenges him to face the darkness. Then Orane is killed, and Julian learns his mentor was far from innocent. The Balasura have hunted children like him for centuries, and their next target, Nadette is his one chance at finally being a part of something real. If Julian can just convince her to trust him…
WOOHOO!! I have Erica Cameron here, the author of Deadly Sweet Lies, which I just reviewed... last week, I guess? You can read my review here. She created one of the most intriguing characters ever! Julian was my favorite! You can see all of her previous and upcoming works here.


Hi Erica! Can you tell us a bit about your latest book, Deadly Sweet Lies? And maybe, for the sake of those who haven’t read the first book in the series (Sing Sweet Nightingale), you can tell us about that one too!
Julian escapes into a dream world every night, using it as a reprieve from dealing with his irresponsible, addicted mother. It’s the one place where someone else takes care of him instead of the other way around. On the other side of the country, Nadette is being stalked by beautiful beings she wishes she could call hallucinations. They tempted her with kind words and incredible landscapes for two years before the pleas turned to threats and the world she saw through their portals became a pitch-black nothingness that terrified her.

They’re on opposite sides of the country. Julian is a consummate liar while Nadette is a connoisseur of the truth. Nadette came from a family of ten that never had to worry about money, but Julian is the only child of a woman who usually can’t manage to pay the rent on their crappy apartment. The only thing that draws them together is the dream world one loves and the other loathes, but the truth about the Balasura may lie somewhere in the middle. Figuring it out before the Balasura stalking Nadette find her is going to be the hard part.

Deadly Sweet Lies is the second book of The Dream War Saga, but it’s not quite a sequel. Mariella and Hudson’s story is told in Sing Sweet Nightingale—loss, grief, loyalty, mistakes, forgiveness, and a dream world that fools you into thinking you’ve found paradise—but two new narrators pick up the story for book two and the timelines of the two stories heavily overlap. Deadly Sweet Lies read almost like it’s a second book one because it doesn’t repeat much that we’ve learned in Sing Sweet Nightingale. Instead, it expands on what we’ve already seen, correcting some assumptions and introducing readers to a more in-depth look at the Balasura and the world they live in. Plus, several of the characters from Sing make appearances in the book! And there are a lot of Easter eggs if you look for them. Especially if you’ve also read the Dream War Saga short story contained in the Doorways to Extra Time anthology. One of the characters from Deadly is introduced in “Whatever it Takes”!
If The Dream War Saga had a soundtrack, what would be one of the songs on the playlist?
I don’t create playlists while I write, but I definitely have music that reminds me of the books! For Sing Sweet Nightingale, “Blinding” by Florence + The Machine is basically the book’s official theme song. It’s a little scary how accurate the lyrics are for that book. Deadly doesn’t have as specific a theme song, but I have playlists for the book as well as each of the narrators here: http://byericacameron.com/wp/extras/playlists/. You can also follow all of my playlists (book specific and just for fun) if you follow me on Spotify here: https://open.spotify.com/user/1261447593.
Among all the main characters in The Dream War Saga (Mariella, Hudson, Julian, and Nadette), which one do you like the most? And why? (I choose Julian, of course)
Yay! Julian deserves all the love, definitely. As for who I like the most (you realize this literally feels like picking a kid I love the most, right?), I probably would have to say Hudson. He was the anchor of the first book that kept me sane during the multiple rewrites that story had to go through, and I’ll always have a special fondness for him. Plus, he’s Hudson. He’s a massive teddy bear made of marshmallow fluff wrapped in a shell that looks like Drago, the villain from Rocky IV. It’s adorable.
Do you recall when and how your interest in writing originated? (Were there any inspirations?)
When I was thirteen, my language arts teacher asked us to get into groups and create a picture book. Literally a picture book, like for little kids. I asked if I could work alone and then, after she reluctantly agreed, I turned in a 40-page mystery novella that may or may not have been inspired by the James Patterson’s Alex Cross novels that I’d been reading at the time. I should have known then that I’d be a writer, but I didn’t figure it out until I’d almost graduated college in 2007.
What was the hardest and easiest thing about writing Deadly Sweet Lies?
Julian, actually! In an odd twist of fate, he followed in his cousin Mariella’s footsteps by being an extremely complicated character to portray the way I wanted. It took multiple rewrites to figure out how to write Mari, and though Julian wasn’t quite that persnickety he definitely took a lot longer to nail down than Nadette did.
If you were the one of the characters in your own stories (in The Dream War Saga, I mean), what power do you think you would have (or prefer to)?
Given how many allergies I have, healing would be useful as all hell.
Can you spoil us a bit about the next book in The Dream War Saga? How is it going to be? Is it going to be narrated by someone we already know (from the previous books) or new characters we haven’t heard of? (I secretly wish Julian will still be narrating, though *fingers crossed *)
Well, I can neither confirm nor deny future narrators, but right now I’m planning on the series including two additional titles. I will say that some narrators do repeat in the last two books and that over the course of the four novels there will be six people total who get the chance to tell us what they see. Unfortunately, I don’t have any release dates or official information for the last two books! Right now it’s out of my hands. Hopefully, if enough people find the series and love it, we’ll get to see those final two stories eventually!
Mention three of your favourite books EVER!
These questions are always so difficult! I have more books in my closet than clothes, so picking just a couple of them is painful! ;) Honestly, there are so many books that have impacted my life in one way or another that…well, just know this list is FAR from complete.

That being said, my first favorite author was Tamora Pierce (yes, I’m cheating by naming an author instead of a single book!), and I’ll always have a soft spot for her stories.

I am also a huge admirer of Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel series, too. Those books are so unbelievably epic and beautiful that they kind of make me despair of writing anything half as good. They’re also very much not YA titles, so if you’re looking into reading them make sure you check out some reviews for content warnings.

I read Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen when I was working at Borders years ago, and I think I hand-sold ten copies of that book a week because of how hard I pushed it on people. The writing, the characters, and OH MY GRACIOUS THE ENDING. I love that book immensely. It’s incredible.
I’ve heard that you write another series too! It’s called Laguna Tides, isn’t it? Can you tell us what it’s about?
I love the Laguna books! I co-authored them with Lani Woodland, who is one of my best friends, and they’re set on a fictional island off the coast of Laguna Beach, California. The series (which will include five books when it’s complete) follows a group of friends through their senior year and slightly beyond.

They’re not at all sequels, though. These are connected companion novels, and each one is a separate entity with a new narrator. Taken by Chance is Dare Andrews’ book. It’s about family, asking for help, optimism, and cupcakes. There are definitely more than a few cupcakes.

The second book, Loyalty and Lies, is Axl Derringer’s story. Though it’s still a straight contemp novel, Axl’s book deals with issues that are a little darker than Dare’s book. He faces addiction issues, dealing with huge losses in his life, betrayal, distrust, a pregnant ex-girlfriend, and a lot of other things. He’s beautifully broken and I kind of love him, honestly.

The third book should be coming in the spring of 2016 sometime and it will give you an in-depth look into Brandon Whitley’s life. After that, Kody and Jason finally get their turns!
You’ve written two series in two different genres (Fantasy and Romance). How did the writing process differ between genres, was it difficult to switch?
I love genre jumping! I’m definitely going to keep doing it as much as I can manage. The approach and the process are very different. There was a lot of worldbuilding for the Dream War books, for example, that I didn’t have to worry about with the Laguna series. The Laguna books almost felt like a vacation to write after the intricate complexities of the Dream War books. Of course, I had to make my life even more complicated. My next two series will be completely different. Later this year I’ll be releasing a two-book thriller series with Riptide’s new YA imprint Triton Books and in 2017 Entangled Teen will help me launch the first book of an epic fantasy trilogy! After that I have ideas for a couple of different YA sci-fi novels, a few YA contemporaries, and a potential adult asexual romance series co-authored with a friend of mine.
For such a successful author like yourself, can you share one writing tip or piece of advice to aspiring writers out there?
My number one piece of advice, for myself and for everyone else, is this: You cannot edit something that doesn’t exist. The only way you’ll learn to write is by doing. Reading books (both novels and how-to guides) will help, but the harder part is finding a way to put those tips and tricks into your own work. Listen to advice and try it all if you’re still searching for your method, but DO NOT hold onto a habit, rule, or genre just because it works well for someone else. As long as you’ve got a book at the end of your process, how you created it doesn’t matter much.
Thank you for letting me interview you! It’s been a pleasure!
Thank you so much for having me! :D

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GIVEAWAY: Life After The Undead by Pembroke Sinclair
Monday, 11 January 2016 @ 00:46// 0 comment(s)



Life After The Undead by Pembroke Sinclair
Publisher: Booktrope Publishing
Release date: October 27th, 2015
Genres: YA, Sci-fi, Dystopia
Source: Publisher
Pages: 248
Goodreads | Purchase
Seventeen-year-old Krista must quickly figure out how she’s going to survive in the zombie-destroyed world. The one advantage humans have is that the zombies hate humid environments, so they’re migrating west to escape its deteriorating effects. The survivors plan to construct a wall at North Platte to keep the undead out, and Krista has come to Nebraska to start a new life.

Zombies aren’t the only creatures she has to be cautious of—the other survivors have a dark side. Krista must fight not only to live but also to defend everything she holds dear—her country, her freedom, and ultimately, those she loves.

Join Krista in her quest to survive in this thrilling apocalyptic novel by Pembroke Sinclair.
Hi! I'm glad to announce that right now I'll be hosting a giveaway of an e-book I reviewed earlier this month. It's about a badass girl who's trying to survive in a zombie apocalypse! I love zombies, basically everything about it. Well, I mostly like The Walking Dead, but I'm cool with any kind of zombies.

I've reviewed and had an interview with the author, you can read it here. Pembroke was great! We talked about what she would do if there were a real zombie apocalypse. She also gave some tips for all aspiring authors out there, like me! What are you waiting for? If you haven't read the interview and review, read it already!


This review is open internationally. The e-book will be sent by the publisher itself once I announce the winner.


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SHORT REVIEW + INTERVIEW: Life After The Undead by Pembroke Sinclair
Thursday, 7 January 2016 @ 13:00// 6 comment(s)



Life After The Undead by Pembroke Sinclair
Publisher: Booktrope Publishing
Release date: October 27th, 2015
Genres: YA, Sci-fi, Dystopia
Source: ARC in exchange of an honest review
Pages: 248
Goodreads | Purchase
Seventeen-year-old Krista must quickly figure out how she’s going to survive in the zombie-destroyed world. The one advantage humans have is that the zombies hate humid environments, so they’re migrating west to escape its deteriorating effects. The survivors plan to construct a wall at North Platte to keep the undead out, and Krista has come to Nebraska to start a new life.

Zombies aren’t the only creatures she has to be cautious of—the other survivors have a dark side. Krista must fight not only to live but also to defend everything she holds dear—her country, her freedom, and ultimately, those she loves.

Join Krista in her quest to survive in this thrilling apocalyptic novel by Pembroke Sinclair.
SHORT REVIEW

I was glad I had Life After The Undead as my first zombie novel ever. It has everything I could ever ask for in a novel featuring my favorite creatures in fictional worlds. It has a badass heroine. Like, really badass. Krista isn't easily intimidated, she stands up for herself, and I found myself liking her more and more each page. She's also smart and knows how to do her thing. My favorite line from her is exactly the same thing I would think of if I were in her shoes, or well.. mine.
Guys? Who the hell cared about guys at this point in time?
I also liked how the zombies are portrayed here. When I was reading, I felt like I was the one running away and hiding from the undead. It was impossible to relax. The plot is fast-paced even though it is kinda slow at some points. I also liked how the threats aren't just the zombies roaming outside the fences, but also the people inside it. Being The Walking Dead loyal fan for years, I know for sure these kinds of things would happen in a real-life zombie apocalypse. Whether the inside threats are tyrants, cannibals, or simply crazy people. 


There was something I particularly didn't like, though. The romance was insta-love and felt unreal. There's just no sparks between them. I felt like the book would be a whole lot better without any kind of romance altogether. It suddenly escalated from a-thrilling-zombie-apocalypse-novel to a-thrilling-zombie-apocalypse-novel-with cheesy-romance-in-it.


Overall, I think Life After The Undead is worth reading if you're looking for a zombie apocalypse story with an independent badass heroine and a totally believable world-building.

Thank you Booktrope Publishing for providing me an ARC!

My rating:  ★ ★ ★ . 5

Reviewed by Inas 

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH PEMBROKE SINCLAIR


Hey! How was the review? Are you interested in reading Life After The Undead? Well, if you do, then you might be interested in joining the giveaway sometime after this month! Just wait for it! Okay, so, in this interview, she talks about how to write Krista a.k.a the badass heroine I was talking about earlier and how would she (Pembroke) survive a zompocalypse!

Okay, then! Check this out!

What inspired you to write a book in a zombie apocalypse world?
I love zombies.  I’ve loved them since the first time I saw Night of the Living Dead.  They are just so fascinating to me, so when I had a dream about them, I thought, “Hey! That’s pretty cool! I’m going to write a story.”  And Life After the Undead was created.

Tell us about the main character, Krista, in twitter style (140 characters or less)
Krista is a strong, tough, spunky, and witty teenage girl trying to survive zombies.  And she doesn’t take crap from anyone!

As we all know, there are many kinds of zombies out there in our fictional world (movies, books, etc). Can you spoil us a little bit about what kind of zombies that features in Life After The Undead? (For example, is it the zombies in World War Z, or The Walking Dead?)
The zombies in Life After the Undead are closer to The Walking Dead creatures.  They are slow and vast in number.
What was the hardest and easiest thing about writing Life After The Undead?
Well, the easiest thing was creating the zombie world.  Like I said, I love zombies, so it was fun to create that aspect of it.  The hardest was probably getting it finished.  I never intended for there to be two books, so the story was a tad longer than I expected.
What would be your first thing to do if you were in an actual zombie apocalypse?
Organize my supplies and family and get to safety.
In a zombie apocalypse, what would be your weapon of choice and why?
I would actually have a couple: a gun and a machete.  Guns run out of ammunition, and machetes require a lot of physical strength and needing to get close to the undead, but both have the ability to save my life.
Do you have a particular writing space where you like to write most, and can you show us a picture if you have one available?
Honestly, I write where I can.  Most of my books are handwritten in spiral notebooks and then transferred to the computer.  I write at wrestling practice, on my couch, wherever!  And when I type it, I move my laptop around to accommodate my needs.
What do you usually do in your free time?
That’s when I write.  I don’t get a lot of free time with a full-time job, a family, and three dogs, but when I do, that’s when I create stories.
I really, truly love Krista's character. She's mature, independent, and stays true to herself.Can you share some writing tips or pieces of advice to aspiring writers about creating great and believable characters?
Wow.  I didn’t think this question would be that hard!  Thank you for the compliment about Krista.  I really like her too.

I really don’t know what kind of writing tip to give for this.  I don’t feel like I created Krista, but that she existed in my mind and told me her story.  When I edit, I try to make her actions fit with the voice in my head and reflect the real world, even though there are zombies involved. 

I’m sure that doesn’t make a lot of sense, and I apologize.  I really don’t know how else to explain it!

There's a sequel, right? Can you tell us a little bit about Krista's next challenges and adventures? Honestly, I can't wait to read the next one!
Yes, the sequel is Death to the Undead, and it is scheduled for republication on February 16, 2016.  In this book, Krista has to figure out how she’s going to take down Florida and The Families.

Here’s the blurb (in case you’re curious):
    Seventeen-year-old Krista has already proven she can survive the zombie hordes.
    After moving to North Platte with her distant cousin General Liet to help build a wall that will keep the zombies in the West, it becomes apparent that the zombies aren’t the biggest threat—some survivors are far more dangerous than Krista had ever imagined.
    With the help of Quinn, a survivor and fighter from the zombie-infested wildlands of the West, they free the garrison at North Platte from the power-hungry Liet.  But there is a bigger battle to fight.
    The Families who rule Florida and use intimidation and the threat of the zombie horde to coerce their territory want Krista and Quinn captured, the zombies want to devour them, and other survivors want them dead. Caught between powerful forces, will they survive long enough to devise a new plan and put it into action?  Or will they self-destruct?
    Find out in book two of this thrilling apocalyptic series by author Pembroke Sinclair.
This or that
Coffee or tea?

Coffee

No friends or no books?

No friends.  I can always make friends in books.

To love or to be loved?

Can’t I have both?
Thank you so much for letting me interview you, Pembroke!
Thank you so much for the interview!  I really appreciate it!



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REVIEW: Snow Globe by Jeanne Skartsiaris
Tuesday, 5 January 2016 @ 00:32// 0 comment(s)



Snow Globe by Jeanne Skartsiaris
Publisher: Barclay Publicity
Release date: January 15th, 2015
Genres: YA, Supernatural, Thriller
Pages:  232
Source: Publisher
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Troubled teen. Juvenile delinquent. Aja Harmon is familiar with the labels. She and her mom live like gypsies, moving every year. Her mom works as a psychic and Aja fights to suppress her own intuitive abilities because the power scares her. After losing a cool job at Abercrombie & Fitch, the only work Aja can find is as a waitress at an elderly residence home. Slowly she begins to enjoy working with the seniors. Unlikely bonds forge, making their worlds bigger while shrinking the generation gap.

If only a corrupt police officer hadn't set his sights on Aja—a beautiful girl with a sketchy past. An easy target to add to his twisted collection.

Snow Globe is a story about a teen who tries to do the right thing but continues to find trouble with her smart mouth and fearless attitude. Working at the assisted living facility, Aja learns compassion and how important yet fragile life is.

Snow Globe was one of the most thrilling novels I've read so far. I had goosebumps all the way from the beginning. I had a bit difficulty trying to figure out the genre. I know it says Fantasy and Supernatural, but those two aspects are more like accompanying aspects rather than significant ones. If you expect to read a story of a psychic girl who fights demons and ghosts and stuff like that, then you won't get what you're looking for. Because this novel isn't exactly a supernatural novel, it's more about the struggle of life for a girl with dark past and abnormal mom who's the perfect portrayal of a hippie.


What I liked the most was the main character, Aja. Well, no. I adored her. I wished I were her. She's tough and even though life has been grinding her to pulp, she manages to find her way round. I liked how she stands up for what she thinks is right and even though she gets many judgements from people, she doesn't care. She's strong and life has made her so. I mean, yes, she still cries sometimes. But, who doesn't?

The suspense is also high. I've never felt this scared and worried for a character for a long time. It's like life and earth and all its inhabitants have turned against her and try to make her as miserable as possible. But, Aja takes it all with her head held high and her comebacks are the best things ever.

I especially like these lines she said when she saw a mother slapping her daughter across the face.

“Don’t take that, kid,” Aja said to the child. “Dial 911.” Aja glared at the mother. “If you didn’t want kids, you shouldn’t have had them. They’re not punching bags.”

And this is what she does after she gets fired for standing up for the kid.

Aja tossed her armload of clothes to the floor and made sure to step on them as she stormed off.

Yeah. That's what I call real sass. But I liked her for it.

There's also a bit of romance in it, it's not exactly the main genre of the book so I understood for the lack of it. It's so slow and gradual. They're not that couple who gets all lovey-dovey right after the first meeting. In fact, they have their own problems and trust issues to deal with. The fact that they have so many problems is what makes them so real compared to couples in reality. It was also entertaining to see Aja avoiding him but still secretly wishing he'd come to visit her. They're just too adorable.

You won't be worried about getting bored because this novel is fast-paced and filled with tensions. I would've finished this in one sit if only I didn't fall asleep due to my lack of sleep (I finished this in two).

Overall, I'd say Snow Globe is a great and worthy read. It teaches us to stand up for what we think is right, but don't do careless and reckless things while doing so. It also teaches us that no matter how hard life is on you, in the end, there'll come a time when the stars align and the moon shines real bright just for you.

My rating:  ★ ★ ★ ★ 

Reviewed by Inas

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E-ARCs and Ebooks I got in 2015
Sunday, 3 January 2016 @ 11:20// 0 comment(s)



Whew, can't believe 2015 has passed! It's 2016 and I'm still the same as ever. Well, guess what. I just started this blog last year on March... or February, I think, and I already got a few e-ARCs and Ebooks for reviewing! I know they're not hard copies like I prefer them to be. But, it still counts as something. The thing is, I live in the middle of nowhere and no publishers would send a free hard copy to someone who lives outside of the U.S or England or Canada.

Okay, so now I'm gonna show you some titles of the review copies or ARCs I got in 2015. They're all electronic, of course. Some of them might have been reviewed before and you can read their reviews if you click the link (if there's one). 



Deadly Sweet Lies (The Dream War Saga, #2) by Erica Cameron
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Release date: December 1st, 2015
Genres: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal
Pages: 400
Goodreads | Purchase Reviews
Nadette is a human lie-detector. Unfortunately being so makes her the target of the Balasura who wants to make her ability their own.

Julian is a master of deception. He's been living by gambling and lying to get people's mercy. The only silver lining in his life is his friend, Orane. He finds out later that Orane isn't who he claimed to be. When discovering the truth, he's told that Nadette needs his help. He's going to help her, all right. If only she would trust him..


Life After The Undead by Pembroke Sinclair
Publisher: Booktrope Publishing
Release date: October 27th, 2015
Genres: YA, Sci-fi, Dystopia 
Pages: 248
Goodreads | Purchase Review
Seventeen-year-old Krista must quickly figure out how she’s going to survive in the zombie-destroyed world. Unfortunately, zombies aren’t the only creatures she has to be cautious of—the other survivors have a dark side. Krista must fight not only to live but also to defend everything she holds dear—her country, her freedom, and ultimately, those she loves.


Broken Dolls by Tyrolin Puxty
Publisher: Curiosity Quills
Release date: December 14th, 2015
Genres: YA, Sci-fi, Fantasy
Pages: 176
Goodreads | Purchase
Ella doesn’t remember what it’s like to be human - after all, she’s lived as a doll for thirty years. She forgets what it’s like to taste, to breathe…to love.



Crossing The Iceby Jennifer Comeaux
Publisher: Jennifer Comeaux
Release date: August 3rd, 2014
Genres: YA, Romance, Contemporary
Pages: 306
Goodreads | Purchase
Pair skaters Courtney and Mark have one shot left at their Olympic dream. They vow not to let anything get in their way, especially not Josh and Stephanie, the wealthy and talented brother and sister team.

But, the more time Courtney spends with sweet, shy Josh, the harder she falls for him. But they are on opposite sides of the competition, and their futures are headed in opposite directions. Will their friendship blossom into more or are their paths too different to cross?


Snow Globe by Jeanne Skartriaris
Publisher: Barclay Publishing
Release date: January 14th, 2015
Genres: YA, Supernatural, Thriller
Pages: 232
Goodreads | Purchase
Snow Globe is a story about a teen who tries to do the right thing but continues to find trouble with her smart mouth and fearless attitude. Working at the assisted living facility, Aja learns compassion and how important yet fragile life is.


The Truth by Jeffry W. Johnston
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release date: February 2nd, 2016
Genres: YA, Contemporary, Mystery
Pages: 240
Goodreads | Purchase
When Chris wakes up tied to a chair in a dark basement, he knows that he's trapped—and why. He shot and killed Derek's little brother. He had his reasons, but no matter how far Derek goes to uncover the truth about that night, Chris's story won't change. It can't. There is far too much at stake…

Derek is desperate to prove his brother didn't deserve to die. And if kidnapping his brother's killer is the only way to the truth, than he'll go to extremes. But Chris's truth is far more dangerous than Derek could have imagined, and knowing could cost both their lives…


The Night Parade by Kathryn Tanquary
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Release date: January 1th, 2016
Genres: MG, Fantasy, Adventure
Pages: 320
Goodreads | Purchase
The last thing Saki Yamamoto wants to do for her summer vacation is trade in exciting Tokyo for the antiquated rituals and bad cell reception of her grandmother's village. Preparing for the Obon ceremony is boring. Then the local kids take an interest in Saki and she sees an opportunity for some fun, even if it means disrespecting her family's ancestral shrine on a malicious dare. But as Saki rings the sacred bell, the darkness shifts. A death curse has been invoked... and Saki has three nights to undo it. With the help of three spirit guides and some unexpected friends, Saki must prove her worth - or say goodbye to the world of the living forever.


Crystallum (The Primordial Principles, #1)by Laney McMann
Publisher: Booktrope Editions
Release date: October 26th, 2015
Genres: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal
Pages: 336
Goodreads | Purchase
Kadence Sparrow wasn't born a devil's child-she was turned into one. Now, she's hiding from the truth, and running for her life.

For years, Kade's true nature has lurked behind an illusion, she knows the drill: no close friends, no boyfriends, and most importantly: don't expose what she is. Ever. Keeping secrets is easy. Lies are second nature. So is the loneliness-and the fear, but when the Shadows attack, and Kade meets Cole Spires, she could expose everything she's trying to hide.

As one of the Celestial Children, Cole lives by an oath: defend the Ward, protect the Primordial race, guard the gateways, and stick to his own. Everything else is a distraction, and besides, he's lost enough. Cole's job is clear, and no one his age does it better. So, when he meets Kade in a club downtown, he assumes she just wants his attention. Most girls do, but Cole soon realizes ... Kade isn't like most girls.

Demon Princess (Demon Kingdom Fairy Tales, #1)by Kassandra Lynn
Publisher: CreateSpace
Release date: December 22nd, 2015
Genres: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal
Pages: 142
Goodreads | Purchase
With her father gone and her brother missing, Demon Princess Adriana has to assume the throne, becoming, at least temporarily, the Demon King. The procession is underway, and the princess is nervous yet determined … until the unthinkable happens and she is summoned! Somehow, Aldric, a mage-in-training has summoned the princess into the human kingdom. Now trapped, Adriana must hide her identity and escape before losing her life in the hands of demons’ mortal enemies.

The Art Of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson
Publisher: Macmillan's Children Publishing Group
Release date: May 31st, 2016
Genres: YA, Contemporary, GLBT
Pages: 352
Goodreads | Purchase
David Piper has always been an outsider. His parents think he's gay. The school bully thinks he's a freak. Only his two best friends know the real truth: David wants to be a girl.

On the first day at his new school Leo Denton has one goal: to be invisible. Attracting the attention of the most beautiful girl in his class is definitely not part of that plan. When Leo stands up for David in a fight, an unlikely friendship forms. But things are about to get messy. Because at Eden Park School secrets have a funny habit of not staying secret for long, and soon everyone knows that Leo used to be a girl.

As David prepares to come out to his family and transition into life as a girl and Leo wrestles with figuring out how to deal with people who try to define him through his history, they find in each other the friendship and support they need to navigate life as transgender teens as well as the courage to decide for themselves what normal really means.


Mother Teresa's Advice For Jilted Lovers by Donna Barker
Publisher: Self-published
Release date: January 6th, 2016
Genres: Adult, Humor, Paranormal
Pages: 239
Goodreads | Purchase
Every time Tara Holland thinks she’s getting close to finally having her white wedding, the man who should be on his knee, giving her roses, winds up on his back, pushing up daisies. Needless to say, Tara’s beginning to think she’s cursed when it comes to men.

Her best friend, Betsy, who’s always there to put the pieces back together, convinces Tara she’s the cause of each of her boyfriend’s untimely exits to the other side. Could it be that Tara has that kind of psychic power? And is Betsy right that women all over the world would pay a pretty penny for it?

I think that's all.. A lot, huh? Believe me, I barely have time to read them all. I've only read 2 of them so far, actually. Well, just pray for me and wish I could read them all before the due date. Or the publishers won't trust me again, which is not something I'm too excited about.

Posted by Inas

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REVIEW: Deadly Sweet Lies (The Dream War Saga, #2) by Erica Cameron
Friday, 1 January 2016 @ 13:00// 0 comment(s)



Deadly Sweet Lies (The Dream War Saga, #2) by Erica Cameron
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Release date: December 1st, 2015
Genres: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal
Source: Publisher
Pages: 400
Goodreads | Purchase
Nadette Lawson knows when you’re lying.

Every night for the past two years, the Balasura have visited her dreams, enticing her to enter their world. And every night she’s seen through their lies. Now, they’re tired of playing in the shadows and they begin to stalk her in the waking world. It’s no longer just an invitation; if Nadette doesn’t join them, they’ll take her family. Forever. She needs help, and the haven she’s seeking may be just out of reach.

Julian Teagan is a master of deception.

To survive, he has to convince the world his mother isn’t useless, that everything’s fine, otherwise he’ll lose what little he has left in this life. He knows the lying won’t be enough to keep him and his mother in the shadows, but it’s all he knows. The only light of truth is Orane, a Balasura who sees past Julian’s facade and challenges him to face the darkness. Then Orane is killed, and Julian learns his mentor was far from innocent. The Balasura have hunted children like him for centuries, and their next target, Nadette is his one chance at finally being a part of something real. If Julian can just convince her to trust him…
Okay, I have to be honest. I didn't know that this book was the second in a series. I requested this book from NetGalley and read it at once without knowing there's a book I'm supposed to read first called Sing Sweet Nightingale. But, even though that's what happened, I still understood the story and nothing confused me at all. Later, I found out this was because the two books are narrated by different narrators and there's a huge time gap in between the events of the books. 

Okay, moving on...

The description of places and situations are so vivid and real. It made me easier to picture them in my head. I loved how the author really used all senses when writing a situation. As in, smell, sight, touch, and hearing. 

The characters are well-written yet they are polar opposites. I mean, they basically contradict each other. While Julian is goofy and laid back, Nadette is much more reserved and skeptical. And then there’s also the fact that Julian is a professional liar while Nadette is a human lie-detector.

I feel like I should create a point for this. Julian is the one thing that motivates me to read and read faster. He’s funny, goofy, witty, and then there’s the fact that he can lie to anyone he wants, but doesn’t. He’s very likable and most of the lines he says cracked me up. He’s like a silver lining amidst all the troubles and greys in the book. And there’s also the constant unique cursing of his, which he picks up after his mother, Lynnie.
Julian’s eyes narrow. “Oh, come on! I have to room with the psychopath in training?”
Ugh. Whatever. If I die, I’m coming back to haunt all of them.
Holy Sinatra and all the blessed Rat Pack.
The plot was very interesting… at first. I couldn’t stop reading after the first few chapters. Heck, I was already intrigued since the very first chapter—which features Julian gambling. There’s just no way you could predict what happens. I found myself gasping and sitting on the edge of my seat every time something unexpected happens. But, then... pretty much nothing really happens in the second half of the book. I was very disappointed. The first half of the book was really fast-paced and intense, but the second half was boring and so slow-paced. 

The ending is very predictable… and anti-climatic. Throughout the whole book, I was anticipating for something huge to happen and knock me off my chair. We got the huge thing, alright. But, it wasn’t nearly as huge as I anticipated it to be. It was.. what is it? Too meh and only lasted for a few pages.


In my opinion, the Balasura is highly overrated. Throughout the whole book, we were told that they were vicious, scary, dangerous, and unforgiving. But, there weren’t many proofs to prove it. I didn’t feel threatened by them, like how villains are supposed to make me feel. Their wickedness is more told than shown, and that just didn't work for me.

The romance didn't interest me at all. I knew it would happen, but I kept denying it because I didn't want that pairing  to come true. It wasn't swoon-worthy or cute or anything. In fact, I didn't feel anything at all while reading the romance part. 

Even though the romance is a total no. I found myself liking the platonic relationships between the opposite gender. It's more interesting than the romance. It's rare (in novels) nowadays to find girls and boys having relationships not more than friendships. So, that's why I was really happy to find so many platonic relationships in this book.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. The characters, especially Julian, are interesting and unique. Even though there are some things that made me decrease the stars, I still think this book is worth reading and enjoyable.


Thank you NetGalley for providing me an Advance Reading Copy!

My rating:  ★ ★ ★ . 5

Reviewed by Inas 

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